Morocco Imperial Cities

Day 1: Casablanca: Transfer arrival (35 km/22 mi) Arrival to Casablanca, where you will be greeted by your guide and transferred to your hotel in the center of the dynamic..

Day 1: Casablanca: Transfer arrival (35 km/22 mi)

Arrival to Casablanca, where you will be greeted by your guide and transferred to your hotel in the center of the dynamic economic capital of Morocco. Casablanca is home to the largest Jewish community in Morocco and has numerous congregations, active communal institutions, and many highly recommended kosher restaurants. Check-in, dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 2: Casablanca-Rabat (100 km/63 mi)

After breakfast; we will visit the famous Hassan II Mosque. Recently built, it is the largest in the world outside Mecca (the only Mosque can be visited by non Muslims), the Jewish community contributed to the construction of this mosque, which was inaugurated in 1994. Then we will visit the Mellah (Jewish Quarter) with its temples and synagogues such as Beth-El, the largest synagogue and an important community center, seating 500 persons. The Jewish cemetery in the mellah is open and quiet, with well-kept white stone markers in French, Hebrew and Spanish. After lunch at a local Casher Restaurant (or in a seafood restaurant), we will visit the Museum of Moroccan Judaism of Casablanca. It presents religious, ethnographic and artistic objects that demonstrate the history, religion, traditions and daily life of Jews in the context of Moroccan civilization. Departure to Rabat and continue on to Sale, the twin city of Rabat and the birthplace of Rabbi Hayyim Ben Moses Attar, the famous 18th century scholar and cabbalist, known throughout the Jewish world for his bible commentary, the “Or Ha-Hayyim”, the famous rabbi, Raphael Encaoua is buried in the Sale cemetery, Return to Rabat for dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 3:Rabat – Volubilis – Meknes – Fez (220 km/137 mi)

Breakfast. Begin the day with a short Tour of Rabat. Visit the unfinished Tour Hassan Mosque; it is the counterpart of Marrakech’s Koutoubia Mosque and the Giralda Cathedral in Seville, Spain, all of which were built by the Almohad Dynasty, the twelfth 12 century persecutors of the Jewish people. Adjoining the Tour Hassan is the Mausoleum of King Mohammed V, which has become a pilgrimage site for Jews, who cannot forget his efforts to defend them against the anti-Semitic policies of the French Vichy Government. Next we will visit the Jewish quarter with its narrow lanes and colourful courtyards, the near-by mellah has a beautiful synagogue just inside its gates, while the main synagogue is found a few blocks onward in the New City. Outside the city walls of Rabat, we will visit an other walled city, The ancient ruins of Chellah, where Jews are believed to have lived during the time of the Phoenicians. Then we will visit the Kasbah des Oudaias, situated on a bluff overlooking the Atlantic Ocean you’ll find magnificent views. Lunch in a restaurant of your choice (suggestions will be provided) and Departure for Meknes “the Moroccan Versailles” which was founded at the end of the 17th Century by Moulay Ismail, where the Jewish presence is evidenced by Hebraic epitaphs dating from the Christian era as well as Greek inscriptions that still appear in local Synagogues and a place of pilgrimage where the tomb of Rabbi’ David Benmidan, “The Patron of Meknes” is located. After lunch in a restaurant of your choice (suggestions will be provided) sightseeing tour of the city. Meknes, which had 18.000 Jews in 1950, now has a community of 1000. Not to be missed during the visit: the crowded old Mellah is of special interest because of the idea it gives of the past life there conveyed through the historic Jewish names retained by many of the streets. The new Mellah, notable for its many streets with Jewish names. Eight of its eleven Synagogues still serve for congregations. Among them, two are very well maintained, and their interiors are dimly lit by large, intricately designed memorial oil lamps. We continue to Fez with a stop at Volubilis, a well-preserved Roman city, where archaeologists found the first traces of Jewish settlement in Morocco. Then a short visit to the Mausoleum of the founder the first Arab Dynasty that ruled Morocco, Idriss I. Arrival, check-in, dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 4: Fez: sightseeing city

Breakfast, the whole day will be devoted to the sightseeing of Fez, the oldest cultural and spiritual imperial city of Morocco, which was founded in 790 B.C by Moulay Idriss II. Highlights will include the mellah with its synagogues (Rabbi Shlomo Ibn Danan Synagogue, Roben Ben Sadoun, the Jewish Museum of the Em Habanim synagogue), next a visit to the Jewish cemetery which contains the tombs of more Jewish saints than any other cemetery in Morocco, like, Yehuda Ben Attar, Abner Ha-Serfati, Solika Hatchuel, Monsenego… We will visit also the house of Maimonides with its mysterious water clock. Maimonides lived in the city from 1159-1165. Suffering from the persecutions of the Almohad dynasty, he emigrated to escape forced conversion. Lunch at a local restaurant. In the afternoon we will explore Medieval Medina, the Medersas, the El Qaraouiyyin Mosque, mausoleum of Moulay Idriss II the founder of Fez in the ninth century who encouraged the Jews to move to Fez and the sumptuous Nejjarine fountain. Then we will visit the Arabian House to observe various craftsmen performing their work reminiscent of ancient techniques. Optional visit of Bhalil featuring the cemetery of Safrou where Rabbi Lahou Harroch and Rabbi Raphael Moshe Elbaz are buried. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 5: : Fez – Ifrane – Azrou – Beni Mellal – Marrakech (480km/303 Miles)

After breakfast, we will depart to Marrakesh, Climbing the Flunks of the Middle Atlas Mountains visit the Jewish Holiday Camp at Immouzzer Du Kandar. Then we continue on to Ifrane (1650m) and short visit of this squeaky-clean Moroccan pseudo-Swiss town, with its slanted, russettiled roofs hidden amidst a forest of cedar, which cannot grow below 1600m. We shall then drive up alongside the trailing edge of the cedar Forest via the Mischliffen ski resort located in an extinct volcano’s crater to the first real town in the Middle Atlas – Azrou –which in the local Tamazight Berber dialect means “rock” for, next to the mosque, is the massive outcrop from which this town takes its name. Then stop for lunch in Beni Mellal before we continue travelling to Marrakech the second oldest imperial city known as the “Pearl of the South”. Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 6:Marrakech: sightseeing city

Breakfast. This morning, enjoy a peck into the world of Jewish Marrakesh. We will visit the Mellah with its synagogues, The Negidim synagogue built at the end of the 19th century, the other synagogue of the mellah is the Salat el Alzama, built at the turn of the century, there is a local legend that the synagogue was built during the Second Temple period by Jews who had never lived in Eretz-Israel and had not witnessed the destruction of the Temple… Then the cemetery where Rabbi Hanania Ha-Cohen, the Lion of Marrakesh and Rabbi Pinhas Cohen are buried. We then proceed to the Palais el Bahia where our guided tour takes us to several grand halls, gardens and the harem quarter… After lunch at a local Casher Restaurant in the mellah, our tour takes us to visit the eleventh century Almoravide Koubba el Baroudiyn. It is one of the few architectural reminders of the dynasty that presided over the “Golden Age” of the Jews in Spanish Andalucia and Morocco. The Medersa Ben Yusuf, El Badi Palace and Saadian tombs are beautiful demonstrations of the art and architecture of the 16th century Saadians, a dynasty that relied heavily on Jewish traders with Sub-Saharan Africa, including Moroccan-controlled Timbuktu, to finance its wars against Portugal and the Turkish Empire. After ample time exploring the Djemâa’s sights and sounds, we depart to the the remarkable Chez Ali Fantasia: As an excellent finale to any stay in Marrakech, dinner/show Chez Ali is truly a 1001 Nights’ experience. Overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 7:Marrakech

Enjoy the balance of your day at leisure. Optional activities available include spa and massage treatments, freshwater swimming, tennis, bike riding, golfing, horse riding, camel riding, shopping…Fascinating optional excursions also available: 1/- Essaouira (Mogador): Mellah, Synagogue, cemetery, Sanctuary Haim Pinto, Nessim Ben Nessim… 2/- Ourika / High Atlas Mountains: Old Berber sanctuary and synagogue of tzaddik Rabbi Shlomo bel Hansh. The most beautiful and an unspoiled valley of the High Atlas… 3/- Demante: Rabbi Habib Ha Mizrahi, Jacob Mahmias, called Moul Alma, David Draa Halevy. The natural bridge of Imini N’Ifri, dinosaur tracks… 4/- Ouarzazate: Rabbi Habib Ha Mizrahi, Moulay Ighi, David O Mouchy, Kasbah Ait Benhaddou, Kasbah Taourirt, Cinema Studios… Dinner and overnight stay at the hotel.

Day 8:Departure to Casablanca airport (180 km/112 mi)

Assistance for check-in and boarding formalities.

End of our services

These are sample itineraries, customizable for each client, prices are on request and depend on dates, accommodations level and activities Optional kosher meals can be arranged in Casablanca and Marrakech. Possibility to attend a religious service at a Synagogue if coinciding with Fridays

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